How to Make a Purse
Hello friends. Happy Spring! If you’ve ever wondered how to make a purse, today is your lucky day.😁
We’re making a baguette-style bag! Have you seen ALL the versions online? There’s something for everyone; plain leather, straw, and even embellished. The styles with mixed materials are always my fav!
I am starting with a simple version today, using an Easter-esque swatch of fabric in my stash.
What is a Baguette Handbag?
According to Wikipedia, baguettes are small, compact handbags, designed by Italian fashion company Fendi in 1997. Popularized on Sex and the City in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this purse is often cited as the first “it” bag.
Of course, you can buy a Fendi Baguette for $2000 and up, but why not make your own? These purses take so very little fabric that it’s minimal risk to try!
Customize your DIY Purse Details
First, let’s go over some of your options and parts of your DIY purse.
Adjustable Purse Straps
Straps are another way to customize your baguette handbag. They are readily available and can easily change up your look. You will find many options on Amazon that are inexpensive and available in many colors and patterns.
I purchased a few adjustable purse straps on Amazon to check out. They were all very nice quality. The straps I chose come in many other colors. There are so many options to choose from. See the ideas below. (affiliate links in blue)
You can also make your purse strap out of your purse material or another contrasting fabric, or simply use a strap you already have from another purse.
Piping or Cording Trim
Corded trim is a wonderful way to make your purse look more tailored. You can buy cording premade in most fabric stores. Or, you can make your cording, it’s easy! More info below.
Embellishments And Trims
There are so many beautiful appliques, trims, and tapes to decorate your bag. If you are a Twin Cities resident, check out SR Harris, HERE. If you live elsewhere, check your local fabric store or Amazon for great products and ideas.
Many embellishments are available to iron-on, or you can sew-on, or use fabric glue to adhere to your purse.
Obviously, adding a lining to your bag will protect the outside fabric from the contents of your bag. But the best part … It’s also a great way to add a bit of personality with contrasting or complementary fabrics, fun colors, or patterns.
Supplies Needed to Make a Purse
All project materials are NOT pictured above, please refer to the list below for specifics, custom options, and ideas on where to purchase. Affiliate links in blue.
Fabric for Bag & Lining
Fabric for Cording, optional
Rope for Inside Cording, optional
Fusible Fleece Interfacing optional
Flex Foam Interfacing optional
Adjustable Purse Strap examples,
HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE
Fabric Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Bias Tape instead of lining
Additional Sewing Supplies Worth Every Penny
Below are a few items that will make your bag more professional-looking and your sewing easier.
Interfacing for Purses
Interfacing is the first and most important game-changer for your purse! It is a woven or non-woven material that is used to stiffen and strengthen areas of clothes or sewing projects.
There are many options! Choose from soft padding, lightweight varieties, slightly firm, or very rigid. It’s up to you!
Adding interfacing allows you to select the exact “feel” you want for your purse. Do you want it rigid, soft, and slouchy, or somewhere in between? This know-how comes naturally with experience, so don’t overthink it. Take your best shot and you will learn.
My fabric is a medium-weight woven tweed that frays very easily. Probably not the easiest choice in retrospect!
I chose Pellon Fusible Fleece Interfacing to strengthen, add a little rigidity to purse panels and also hold the fabric weave together, and minimize fraying. I also used Pellon Flex-Foam which gives it a nice softness and cush.
Experiment with various interfacing for your bags to get the right look and feel. Below are great interfacing options for purse making.
1 Fusible Fleece Interfacing or Non-fusible Fleece Interfacing
Fleece interfacing adds a layer of softness, body, and stability to your baguette purse project. You can fuse it directly to the fabric, which eliminates the need for pinning, basting, and sewing. Alternatively, you can sew it in. I used the Pellon brand and found it at JoAnn Fabrics.
2 Pellon Flex-Foam Fusible or Non-fusible
This is a lightweight sew-in stabilizer consisting of a layer of foam sandwiched between two thin layers of soft fabric. It is excellent for use in crafts, accessories, and home décor projects. It can be used in place of or in addition to other stabilizers. Flex-Foam is a breeze to sew through and adds shape and body to many projects. It is compatible with a wide variety of fabrics.
3 Pellon Shape flex Lightweight Interfacing
Pellon® SF101 Shape-Flex® is an all-purpose, woven, fusible interfacing. It provides crisp support for garments and accessories. Shape-Flex® is intended for light to medium woven and knit fabrics, including oxford cloth, chambray, gingham, madras, tattersall, pin cord, flannel, and polyester/cotton blends.
4 Thermoweb HeatnBond Heavyweight Interfacing
Heavy Weight Non-Woven Fusible Interfacing provides the support needed for heavier fabrics. It works well for purses and all kinds of bags. HeatnBond is firm and stiff. It does not have as much volume as flex foam.
Microtex needles are VERY sharp and above all, these babies are awesome for sewing multiple layers of fabric together. They have a very fine point that will fly through your fabrics with ease.
SCHMETZ is a reputable and popular brand. Their needles fit most sewing machines just like regular machine needles do. Find them HERE (affiliate links) Be sure to read closely to find the correct needle for your machine.
These connectors are the loops that are attached directly to your bag. They allow you to connect your purse strap to your bag. You can create your own with fabric loops, but it will be more durable over time to use a metal connector piece.
D-ring connectors are inexpensive and available in a variety of finishes, so you can match the hardware with your strap. They are also made in a variety of sizes and styles.
Preparation For Sewing
Below are just a few simple steps to take before you start sewing.
Prewash Bag Fabric
If you do not intend to wash your purse, skip this step. If you prefer the option to wash your bag in the future, prewash your fabric to help prevent any shrinkage that would compromise the look and lay of the bag later.
Dry as you normally would. After the fabric is dry, press carefully with an iron.
Create or Purchase a Purse Pattern
After you download the PDF, print out the pages, cut them out, then tape them together following instructions on the pattern.
Measure the 1-inch square on each sheet of paper to be sure your printer is printing to scale. Adjust your printer as necessary to get the size just right.
Instructions for How to Make a Purse
Finally, let’s get started!
Get Pattern, Layout Pieces, and Cut Fabric
1 Print and cut out your pattern pieces. Layout your fabric and the pattern pieces on a cutting board or a surface that is safe to cut on.
Pay close attention to the grain of the fabric and make sure the pattern pieces are positioned correctly. If you are using a patterned fabric, be extra careful.
Cut out all fabric pieces there should be three total pieces. If you are making cording, there will be four.
Back Panel also flaps over the front
Piping Bias Fabric Strip, if you use piping
Similarly cut out the three pieces for the purse lining. These will be the same as above except you don’t need the piping piece.
If using interfacing, press Pellon Fusible Fleece (affiliate link) to the back or wrong side of the front panel, back panel, and side panel.
IMPORTANT Leave the seam allowance free of interfacing. If you forget, trim off afterward.
2 Using a basting stitch, sew in Pellon Flex-Foam Interfacing HERE or HERE (affiliate links) to the front and back panel. You can skip this step or use it on just one of the panels if you do not want too much thickness. Trim off the interfacing from the seam allowance.
NOTE If you are a beginner you might want to skip this step. The foam adds thickness that makes it a little harder to manage.
How To Make Piping or Bias Cording
3 Buy or make your own piping. To make it yourself, click HERE for a great tutorial. Cording your purse is optional.
NOTE If you are adding piping to your purse, remember, you will have one additional fabric piece. This is a long strip of fabric that is cut on the bias of the fabric.
Beginning to Sew
4 Pin or clip the piping around the bottom and sides of the front panel. Do not attach to the top of the front panel. Sew the piping on. Many people say it’s so much easier to use a cording foot for your sewing machine.
5 Similarly, pin or clip the piping around the bottom and sides of the back panel. Sew the piping on.
With right sides together, sew the side panel to the back panel. Clip curves. Cut small V-shaped notches along the curved corners of your bag. Be careful not to cut into the stitches or the seam allowance.
Turn out. If you are able, press the seam towards the side panel. Use a protective fabric layer between the iron and your fabric, if the fabric is sensitive or fragile.
6 Now, with right sides together, sew the side panel to the front panel. Clip curves. Turn right side out. Gently press the seam towards the sides again.
7 To make the 2 D-ring holders, choose a coordinating fabric that is not too thick and bulky.
If you use a fabric that the edges do not fray, you do not need to finish the ends. Leather, faux leather, or suede works great! Otherwise, you’ll need to create a fabric tube.
Cut 2 strips of fabric. Here are the sizes for the strips:
For Fabric that Frays
Cut 2 strips, 1.5 inches wide and 1 1/2 inch long. With the right sides together fold the strip lengthwise. Stitch down the open side. Turn right side out then press flat.
Cut 2 strips, 3/4 inch wide and 1 1/2 inch long. Fold them in half crosswise.
For both methods, thread the D-ring on. Baste the bottoms of both loops together to hold in place. Position them on each side of your purse. You can also just clip and skip the basting.
For my purse I used Dritz three-quarter inch D rings 19 mm silver. You could also use 1-inch D-ring, depending on the final side of your panel.
8 Starting at the side, pin or clip the piping around the top rim of the front panel, then wrap it around the side to the top of the back flap and then back around to the other side. Baste, if desired, and then stitch in place.
Press seam downward toward the inside of the purse and inward on the inside of the flap.
The Purse Lining
9 With right sides together, pin the 3 lining pieces together, similar to the purse body. Sew. Press seams open if desired.
Now place the purse body inside the lining body. The right sides facing each other. Pin or clip the lining to the purse edge, start at the center marking. Stitch from side to side, along the front rim, in the “gutter” where the cord meets the purse. Secure with backstitches on each side.
10 Gently turn the lining into the purse. Push out the curved corners into each end.
11 Tuck the seam allowance edges around the top of the lining under and pin. Machine or hand stitch the lining in place around the inside flap of the purse.
12 Purchase or make purse straps. Attach and enjoy your new purse!
If you make a purse, please let me know in the comment box below! Share a picture and tag me @bebraveandbloom or #bebraveandbloominspiration.
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